View Full Version : Motorcycle advice (hey, Nanotech...)
07-05-2001, 03:38 PM
Okay, so my car is in the shop for at least a couple of weeks, and I have a little too much money in my bank account for my own good. So I think I'm going to buy a motorcycle.
I'm looking for a small sport bike like a Katana, a CBR, an FZR, or something like those in the 400-600cc range. I don't want to spend more than 2 grand on it, but I don't care about cosmetic condition or even high mileage. I just want to learn to ride on a bike that'll last me a year or two until I decide whether to upgrade to a serious bike or just stick to four-wheeled vehicles.
So my basic questions are:
1) Brands/models: What's good? What's crap? Any particular years that I should look for or stay away from?
2) Other equipment: What do I need aside from the bike? Obviously a helmet, but do I need a riding suit? What else don't I know about?
3) Insurance: Anybody know a good cheap insurance plan that'll cover my a$$ but not worry about damage to the bike?
4) License: How long does it generally take to go from not knowing how to ride (I've ridden dirt bikes, but never a real motorcycle) to getting a license? How difficult are the tests?
Anybody can feel free to chime in - I'm new to the motorcycle world, so I'd love to hear anyone's opinions or experiences. Thanks!
07-05-2001, 07:46 PM
1. I prefer yamaha over honda, suzuki, and kawa...im not sure how well the older models perform relative to each other...
2. For local riding, i dont use much gear, just a helmet and jacket, i use the suit for weekend mountain riding... suits can get expensive, so if i where you, i'd buy a 2 piece so you can use the jacket w.o. the pants. Gloves are really important...they can get expensive, but they are well worth the investment...it all depends on your personality and how you plan on riding it....seriously, safety is first, people realize it after getting in an accident. the reason why i like motorcycles is the feeling of being free, i used to ride without a helmet with just shorts n a shirt until i fell..... if you get a motorcycle, your almost guaranteed an accident at least once....
3. one of my friends got his '01 R1 jacked on campus and insurance company payed off his bike ...and a few weeks ago, he got into a pretty bad accident and totaled his bike...the insurance company gave him the option to trash it or salvage it, he opted to salvage, and with the money from the insurance he's going to rebuild it with racing parts.... i'm not sure which insurance company he uses, but i could find out...
4. heh, licence testing is pretty easy. they just take you in the back of the dmv with some cones setup up and all you have to do is manuver through them =) ...if your under 21, you have to take a CHP course...the course itself isnt that extensive or expensive.
eh, i hope this was of any help
[Edited by epoxi on 07-05-2001 at 04:49 PM]
07-05-2001, 07:46 PM
Originally posted by Ice-9
.....Anybody can feel free to chime in - I'm new to the motorcycle world, so I'd love to hear anyone's opinions or experiences. Thanks!
OK, to start... I recommend HONDA, or Suzuki. I'm not particularly fond of the Kawasaki's, or the Yamaha's, mostly because i think H. and S. have better designs, and more bang for you buck (less maintenance too).
I assume you want a sport bike?... well, heres the low down: CBR's only come in 600cc an higher. the original CBR's start in the early 70's i think. You should get something, say, 85 an newer. I have an F2. The models go thus: late 80's - 1990 were plain old "CBR 600", and looked similar to my bike. Then, 1991 - 94 (or so) you have the F2's. Great bike, better motor than the CBR 600, and better comfort. Then from there on you have F3s, F4s, etc. (too expensive for you right now.)
I recommend nothing smaller than a 500 to learn on. Not to much power either. The 600 F2 may have a little to much power for a beginner - i donno. It was my second bike.
I paid $2800 for my bike, but it had a little damage. It shoudl be worth around $3300. It's a '93.
OK, so something in your price range will be mid to late 80's stuff. And don't diss those bikes either. I would be very happy with something like this bike on ebay:
That is an '84 Honda VF700 Interceptor. She's a damn fine bike, and would prolly knock the socks off my bike. The VF series had a few little problems, but nothing important that comes to mind right now. They still make the VF series, and it's one of Hondas more expensive bikes.
Now, another good bike:
This is the Nighthawk series, and an older model too. Good sloid bikes, bu a little less power than the VFR. Kinda a hybrid between the crotch rocket, and a mild cruiser. I would expect that bike to sell for no more than $1400-$1500 in perfect cond.
OK, some buying tips. Look for scrapes, cracks, small dents, "bent looking" footpegs or handlebars, etc. Dont' buy it if she's got bent parts, unless your absolutely sure it's superficial, and can be replaced (like mirrirs/blinkers from a light spill). Scrapes indicate she's been down. If so, look for a bent frame. Lock at the rearend and see if she's all lined up vertically. On My bike you can see that the subframe (the part that holds the seat) has been slightly twisted. Same with the front "fairing stay" (another "sub-frame" that holds the front plastic in place). check for rustmarks or cracks in teh weld joints of the frame. Check the Oil, and airfilter if possible. Should both be CLEAN.
Make sure the tires have tread ALL THE WAY around them, even in the center of the tire. I was mislead thinking the center of the tire was like a "racing slick", when in fact, it was a "bald/worn out" tire. :( Make sure the chain is fairly tight, IS NOT RUSTING (THIS IS VERY BAD - CHAIN and sprokets MUST BE REPLACED = $100 + $50 for sprockets.)
IF you find something, and you have pictures, email me or post them and I'll take a look, and tell you a fair price.
Yes, get a helmet. Get a Shoei, or HJC, BELL, or something like that. Get it just a little to tight. the inside will wear out and loosen just a little bit on the quality helmets. On the cheapies (Beifee, etc.) the padding wears out to nothing. You will pay about $250 or more for a good helmet. Try to find "last years" model - you'll get a good $100+ price drop :) Try to get a loop style fastner, not a "kwick klip" style connector. They become a pain in the long run.
I DON'T wear shorts. Always wera at least jeans, and a tshirt. If you can stand the TEMP, wear a good leather jacket, and a good pari of rubber-soled tennis shoes. Gloves - i suggest something with a little armour in them around the palm of your hand and nuckles area. $50-ish for gloves.
Get a good pair of sunglasses that fit comfortable under the helmet. they keep bugs/dust/wind out of your eyes when the visor is open. I have a $80 pair of severe wrap Nike shades (my first pair of REAL shades - bought them right after i got contacts :) )
Insurance. Humm, I pay like $104 every 6 months for ins. on my bike. Liability only. I donno if teh even offer full coverage for bikes. They DON'T offer medical. Better have a good plan with your job :)
I suggest you ride around a few parking lots for about a month. yeah its' a long time, but youll get the feel of it better. - less chance of an accident. You will probably have to take a written test (can be pretty hard - study for it, and LEARN the book - it's good practice). Depending on your town, the riding test may be easy or hard. All i had to do was ride down to the end of the street and come back. most people can do that though. I suggest you get more experience before you take her out on the busy streets.
sorry about the long post. Epoxi has some good words to say too. I didn't mention Suzuki cause i don't know much about them. I only had 2 honds so far - both are great reliable enjoyable bikes.
BTW, tires cost about $100 each, chain + sprockets $150, headlight $75, footpegs $30 - 70ea., handle bars (also called clip-on's) $45ea., most bikes are carburated, cleaning a 4brl carb is about $250, airfilters $30-70ea, plugs, $25 - $50 (set of 4), mirrors $45ea....
let us know what you get :D
[Edited by Nanotech9 on 07-05-2001 at 05:28 PM]
07-05-2001, 08:26 PM
Excellent! This is exactly what I'm looking for - thanks, guys! Anything else you care to post, I'm still checking on bikes, so I'll keep all info in mind.
At the moment, the bikes I'm seriously considering are:
'87 Honda CBR 600. Salvage title, rebuilt engine, cosmetic damage. $1000.
'91 Yamaha FZR 400. Clean title, good engine, no accidents (according to owner). $1700.
'85 Kawasaki GPZ 550. (http://www.citycyclesalvage.com/1985%20GPZ550%20left.jpg) Clean title, questionable motor, slightly bent front fork. $1000.
'94 Suzuki GS 500E. (http://www.surplusstation.com/images/bluegs01.jpg) Clean title, NOT a sport bike, but in great shape cosmetically and mechanically. $2000
I don't weigh too much, about 150, so I think I could live with a 400. So I'm leaning towards one of the first two, although that salvage title/rebuilt engine bit on the CBR is worrying me. What do you think?
07-05-2001, 08:36 PM
'94 Suzuki GS 500E. Clean title, NOT a sport bike, but in great shape cosmetically and mechanically. $2000
I like that bike. real nice, light, newer, so less maintenance, looks like good rubber, good chain, and resale in a year will still be good. You'll want to upgrade in a year or so ;)
The Kawai is ok, just needs to be around $900 if possible.
[EDIT] i mised the "slightly bent front fork"... NO WAY Jose... $700 MAX for that bike. Your looking at $300 or more to replace the fork and get it installed. Also, it may have other problems since it's been "involved in an incident". Wouldn't be bad for $70, MAYBE $800 though.
91 Yamaha for $1700... humm. if I recall it's a good little bike. Maybe $1550 for that.
>>>> '87 Honda CBR 600. Salvage title, rebuilt engine, cosmetic damage. $1000
That bike is only worth $2000 in good, un-slavaged cond. $750 max for her since she's salvaged. Cosmetics are very expensive. Any one fairing part can be from $75 to $250.
I say go for the Suzuki. And yes, its a "light" sport bike.
[Edited by Nanotech9 on 07-05-2001 at 05:40 PM]
07-05-2001, 08:49 PM
Sweet. I haven't been out in person to see any of these bikes, so I won't make up my mind until I do, but thanks a ton for the advice. I'm checking out the Yamaha tomorrow and the others this weekend, so I'll post any new info (if you don't mind continuing to help me out, I really appreciate it).
That Suzuki is pretty nice, huh? Not exactly the body style I want, but hey, it's a beginning bike...
I haven't seen a pic yet of the Honda, so I don't know how bad the "cosmetic damage" is, but the frame and forks are supposedly straight, and I was mistaken on the engine - it's not rebuilt, it's original. So I think the Kawasaki is out, but the others are all still interesting. I'll check em out and get back to you. Thanks again!
07-06-2001, 06:08 PM
oh, one other thing... sonce this is still the summer season, you'll prolly be forced to pay a little higher than what i mentioned above... prices usually drop bigtime in the winter, but it's had to ride in the winter, so as long as you don't get reamed on the price you'll be ok.
07-08-2001, 11:32 PM
get a bike without plastic.. take motorcycle safty foundation course. they teach you how to ride, u get a break on insurance, and hopefully you are less likly to act like a fricking Squid.
07-09-2001, 02:23 PM
Okay, I checked out the Yamaha, and it's in decent shape and seems to run well, but the owner has another potential buyer who will give him $1800, while I was going to try to talk him down to $1600. So I'm going to go look at the Honda and the Kawasaki this week, since I'd really prefer to spend $1000...
I'm going to look for a safety course - anybody know where they offer them in CA?
07-22-2001, 12:25 AM
well... did ya get anything?
07-24-2001, 12:06 PM
Blah. No, I didn't. For various reasons, my cash flow has been further restricted, and it came down to a choice between the motorcycle (the Honda was in pretty good shape, it turns out, and I very nearly wrote a check for it) or my car. And as much as I'd love to have a motorcycle, my car is my baby.
However, I'm getting a giant grant next semester which, although it is supposed to be used for purely living expenses, may be laundered in some way to get me that bike (or another one). We'll see...
Thanks again for the advice, Nano and epoxi - I'll make sure I put it to good use at some point.
07-24-2001, 04:27 PM
Darn it, all this talk about bikes is making me want to get one now!!!
07-24-2001, 09:45 PM
Yep. DarkFury, you pretty much hit it right on the nose. Before, I thought I was going to be able to fix my car and get this bike, the car being more important but continued access to transportation being the goal. Now it turns out that because of the unforseen cost of moving out of my house, I can't afford the bike. :( Maybe when I get my loans...
07-27-2001, 12:11 AM
well, my very first vehicle was a bike. I rode it into town (9 miles, 3 of it dirt), went to work / school, drove back, etc... There are ways of carrying stuff on a bike, believe it or not. Even groceries. Now i try to ride it as much as possible, but with this extra hot weather, it's not too appealing. It does make for a good evening ride though.
Until i got hit on my old bike, i considered it my primary vehicle (my only one really). And even afterwards, i still did. Pretty much up until winter time, at which point my car (which i bought after the accident, before the bike got repaired) seemed a little more appealing.
I'm kinda leaning towards getting a cruiser again. the sport bike is fun and all, but i think i like the longer, more comfortable rides. My trip to Colorado was ok on the way up (on a Shadow 500) but hard on teh way back, in 100+ weather, bucking a 20+ mi/hr headwind, with no windshield. I would like to do it again, just on something like a Yahama Venture ('82 / '83 model) or even something like a '91 - '93ish Shadow 750+ (i.e., 1100 :D ).
Its all about finding that perfect ride or trip that just tickles your fancy bone.
BTW, right now i own two cars, and a bike :D - just had to say that, since it'll prolly be the only time in my life that i own all three at the same time. Now, if i had only kept the old Shadow, then i'de have 2+2 :D
07-27-2001, 12:13 PM
BTW, I think there's something wrong with your sig.
07-29-2001, 02:30 AM
no no no... my sig is fine... i even speeel chekced tit. no need to go maykeeng ass-umptions now. afterall, it only makes an ass out of you :P
07-30-2001, 02:45 PM
Originally posted by Nanotech9
no no no... my sig is fine... i even speeel chekced tit. no need to go maykeeng ass-umptions now. afterall, it only makes an ass out of you :P
YOU are a punk.
You just let me know when I can take your Bimmer-loving @$$ to school on an auto-x course. :D
07-31-2001, 04:09 PM
Bring it ON!.....
actually, last sunday i went to an auto-x with a friend, and his friend. It was about an hour away from OKC. It was cool, because it was my first time, so i signed in to events, and the course was pretty open.... not so many super-twistie-turnies like they do here in OKC.
So it was definitely a good beginners course.
1st run: 74.???secs DNF (i kinda got in a hurry on the takeoff and overshot the 3rd turn...
2nd run: 66 secs
3rd run: 64.8 secs
4th run: 68 i think... i messed up.
2nd Heat - i was corner worker - almost passed out from heat exhaustion.....
3rd heat (trying to sit in A/C in car and cool down)
1st run: 74ish... cause i fishtailed, but i had fun burning ruber to complete the 360 and get her straightened out... :D
2nd run: 68ish - working on cornering and stuff...
3rd run: 64.4 - a few hundredths under my best
4th run: 62.8 - Woohoo! - Figured out that the wheels really wouldnt slip even if i got the ABS working... I carried more speed up to the turns before i braked...
the best time on the track was 51 secs i think - which was scored by a hella-fast go-cart!. My friend in his car (same model BMW, with a few upgrades to suspension and brakes) got a low of 57 i think, and he's pretty good at it. I think i did ok - especially for running a new car to me (i had it 4 days at that point) and that being my first set of races, and my old car being FWD Geo Prizm with horrendous suspension.....
07-31-2001, 05:21 PM
Hmm, sounds pretty good...
Guess I better go start practicing.
Seriously, though, our cars are probably fairly comparable in power and weight, huh? What does your Bimmer tip the scales at? I'm guessing my suspension is a little better, but I can add a handicap or something to my times... :D
08-02-2001, 11:14 AM
um, your '85 (?) 944 weighs in at 2,778 lbs according to NADA. my bimmer weighs in at 2,600 lbs or so. so yeah, about the same. You might have just a little more power than me too - not sure.
08-02-2001, 12:14 PM
Cool. Actually, mine's a little lighter than that, according to my last corner-balancing, since a PO ripped out some interior crap, deleted the AC, and ditched the spare tire somewhere. So they probably come in at just about the same.
And power's probably close, too. I haven't dynoed it or anything, but stock is 163 for the Euro model (which mine is, for some reason), and probably about 175 with the B&B exhaust, re-flowed intake, and polishing. What's your Bimmer come in at? We may have a good basis for comparison after all...
(until I get my Turbo S, that is......21 psi of boost......)
08-02-2001, 10:51 PM
humm - i think ive only got mid 130's to low 140's if that much. I do want to put a K&N cone on it, stiffer springs (Blistien maybe?), etc. Maybe even a chip if i get into racing a lot. Those things are too damn expensive though.
08-03-2001, 12:14 PM
Yep. Good luck selling the Geo - it might bring you just enough money to get yourself in trouble, i.e., start upgrading the Bimmer. After that, you'll never put any money in the bank again! Bwahahahahaha!
Umm, I mean... have fun... :D
08-04-2001, 01:09 AM
All this talk about bikes makes me wanna get one. (smack to the back of my head from my girlfriend)
And all this talk about racing makes me wanna autocross. Maybe if I get another Z. I never autocrossed and don't know where I would in the NY area. I guess I need a car first anyway. oh well
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